Today we are going to talk about the Sacraments and the Cross.
I have just finished listening to an awesome CD set by Brant Pitre on Sacramental Theology and while he is totally speculating, he links the seven last words of Christ on the Cross to the seven Sacraments.
Let's begin with the sacraments of initiation, where does he speak about Baptism?
Dr. Pitre points out that in Baptism we are born again into the family of God. Where God is our Father we participate in the sonship of Christ and Mary becomes our Mother. So when from the cross St. John records
John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Jesus here is giving his mother to the disciple whom he loved. Now while tradition tells us that this was John, a deeper reading of this tells us that this is all of Christ disciples, namely us. And when do we become his disciples except in our Baptism.
What about confirmation?
Luke 23:46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.
So we see it is first on the cross that he gives up his Spirit and it will be this same Spirit that Jesus breathes on the apostles in John 20 when it says Jesus breathed on them and said recieve the Holy Spirit. And on the whole church at pentacost.
Finally the Eucharist?
John 19:28 Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth.
Jesus at this point is finishing the passover and now Eucharistic meal that he began the night before. Evidence of this is what they put the wine on, a branch of hyssop. I did a word search on my computer it is used 12 times in the Bible beginning with the first passover, but 11 of those 12 times that it uses this word is always in the context of a sacrifice.
So certainly when Jesus says - I thirst - it is some reference to the Eucharist.
I did a word search on "thirst" (Except for Matthew 5:6 - hunger and thirst for righteousness) Jesus uses it in the context of the Sammaritan woman in John 4 in John 6 with the Eucharist and at the cross and think of the cross when you read this:
John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
So where are the sacraments of healing, confession and anointing of the sick?
Well confession is very clear Luke 23:38-43 - One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Jesus hears the confession of the "good thief." And what a better absolution than saying that the thief would be with with him in paradise.
How about the anointing of the sick?
Listen to what the Catechism says about the anointing of the sick in reference to the Cross.
CCC Jesus did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the "sin of the world,"of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion. [440, 307]
This is so clear when Christ says in Mark 15:34 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He is quoting psalm 22 here which while it does end in triumph, it is certainly a psalm of suffering.
What about the priesthood?
In every culture the role of the priest is to intercede for the people, and we see even on the cross, Jesus is interceding for those crucifying him right then, as well as us with our sins.
Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.
It is significant here that they are casting lots for his garments, because in another place it mentions that he was wearing a seamless garment, which is what a priest would wear when he is offering sacrifice. This further points to Jesus's priestly role on the Cross.
Finally Marriage, where do we see marriage at the cross?
I can't get into it right now but, some scholars have called the cross a wedding bed. We see Christ dying ( or a biblical euphemism is falling asleep) and then from his side is brought forth like Adam, his bride the church through the water and the blood.
Listen to these verses:
John 13:1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
John 19:30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished";
The Greek here brings out a better paralell. In John 13 it says that he loved them to the end and then John 19 really says that it is ended. The greek word for end/ or finish is teleos.
In Latin Jesus says - it is consumated. Think what things we consumate - our marrages on our wedding night. It is here when we see Jesus's corps is at deaths door we should think of his marital words - "This is My Body"
Again this was taken from Dr. Brant Pitre's CD set
Sacramental Theology which can be purchaced here: